The title, a sly translation of Beethoven's aria, perfectly captures the disapproving, exhilarated tone of this effervescent concoction. Back in 1989, Major Edd (``Twodees'') Partain punched out his superior officer, Major General Walker L. Hudson, in response to Hudson's self-vindicating suggestion that Twodees had misappropriated $1.2 million of CIA money earmarked for the Salvadoran army. Now, just as Twodees, cashiered from the service, is being hounded out of his latest dead-end job by Hudson's slimy sidekick, Colonel Ralph Waldo Millwed, Twodees's old friend Nick Patrokis, co-founder of Victims of Military Intelligence Treachery (VOMIT), gets a lead that may finally blow the lid off the diversion. The thieves have hired stone killer Emory Kite to make sure the trail stays cold, but Kite, though he kills five guys with professional dispatch, is no match for Millicent Altford, the veteran fundraiser Twodees's VOMIT contacts recommended him to. Twodees's new job: To cover Altford's back while she plots to recover a packet missing from her secret war chest--a packet totalling $1.2 million.... As usual with Thomas (Voodoo, Ltd., 1992, etc.), the byzantine intrigue is more high-spirited than strictly logical. But all the characters project such a deliciously matter-of-fact sense of knowing exactly what they're talking about, from campaign finance reform to assassination techniques, that just meeting, listening to, and watching them in action will leave you dizzy with pleasure.